Bread is one of my favorite things ever. I love all kinds of bread. Cinnamon bread, sweet rolls, biscuits, I love all of it. So why wouldn't I love some bread with pesto and cheese thrown in it?! And it's super pretty. A fat wreath of warm soft gooey bread. It looks like it might be kind of tricky to make, but it's really not! It's pretty easy, and delicious. I served this bread alongside of spaghetti and a salad.
Braided Pesto Bread
For the bread:
1 cup warm water
2 tsp active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup pesto
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
Pour warm water into the bowl of a mixer, fitted with the dough hook (or just a big bowl if you are kneading by hand). Sprinkle yeast over the water. Let it set for 10 minutes, until the mixture has become frothy. Add in the flour, oil and salt, and mix with the dough hook (or mix together by hand). Continue to knead the dough for about 5 minutes, until the dough is elastic and no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl (you may need to add a little more flour if it's still too sticky).
Form the dough into a ball and let it rise in an oiled bowl for about 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in size. Preheat oven to 425.
lightly flour the counter you plan on rolling the dough out on. Roll the risen dough into a rectangular shape, about 18x12 inches. Spread the pesto over the rolled out dough, leaving about 1/2 inch clean border around the edges. Roll the long side of the rectangle toward you, and pinch the seam closed.
Slice the roll lengthwise down the middle, making two long halves. Pinch the ends of each together. Braid the 2 pieces together, and try to keep the cut sides of the dough outward, so that the green layers are seen. once it's all twisted together, pinch the ends and bend around into a wreath, pressing the 2 ends together.
Transfer to a greased baking sheet and let it sit for 30 minutes. Top with shredded cheese and bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown.